I can’t believe it’s that time again! This year feels like it has gone by so quickly, making the thought of entering 2016 a little daunting.
As we inch closer to the New Year, I want to make sure I have a clear idea of where I’m going and what I’m aiming for – in life and work.
There’s nothing worse than feeling lost, so by having clear and well-defined goals we can avoid this happening and empower ourselves to make good, effective decisions.
To help you get ready for 2016, I’ve created a guide to setting – and keeping – personal goals.
Step One: Understand where you are
The first task of any goal setting exercise is to get a clear picture of where you are now. As any good engineer or architect would know, you can’t build or move a project further without knowing where it currently stands.
This means doing a personal survey of where we are in terms of our finances, career, relationships and/or any other category that is important.
A quick way of assessing this is to use the Wheel of Life template. While it may sound a little New Age, it is has proven to be a popular tool in corporate coaching. The principle is simple: number from 0-10 how happy you are in each area of your life and from there work out which area/s need more attention.
Another approach is to chart each area with specific detail. Ask yourself – how much savings do I have? How much do I have outstanding on my home repayments? What is my current salary?
Download our Personal Stocktake guide to make sure you get a complete picture.
Step Two: Manage priorities
Now that you have a better understanding of your current situation, the next step is to decide what you most want to change and improve.
You might realise you need a pay raise, a change of job, or a new holiday home investment property. Alternatively, you might decide you need a better work-life balance or to take a long holiday overseas.
Whatever your priorities might be, write them down and list them in order of importance.
Step Three: Set goals
Once you have your priorities in order, you should have a good guide on what will be your goals for 2016.
Follow the SMART criteria to clearly define each of these goals. The SMART criteria states that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
In other words, instead of using ‘lose weight’ as a goal, be specific – think ‘lose five kilograms by March’. Like any KPI, your goals must be attached to a clearly defined outcome and deadline.
You can download our Goal Setting template to check whether your goals meet the SMART criteria.
Step Four: Track progress
Once you have set your goals, create a system to review and track them. Make it personal. If you prefer hard copies, use a diary or calendar to plot your progress. If you’re no friend to paper, try using an app like Any.do or Evernote.
You will find there are a thousand different ways to measure a thousand different areas of your life. My advice is to make sure your system is as streamlined as possible. You don’t want to be running multiple programs or using four different diaries just to see how you’re tracking.
The key point is to be aware of the targets you need to hit to meet your goals. You could do this with a bright yellow highlighter or a simple email reminder.
Whatever your technique, stay with it. Before you know it, it will be 2017! If you’re more interested in property goals, take a look at our setting property goals blog post.
If you have any other advice or tips, please share them in the Comments section.
Happy goal setting! (And Happy New Year!)